Ten Years at Hidden Pond

 

This summer we spent our tenth year at Hidden Pond, a beautiful resort in Kennebunkport, Maine. Hidden Pond is a part of KRC, or Kennebunkport Resort Collection.  KRC is a group of fabulous properties throughout the Kennebunkport Area.  They include a number of luxury and boutique hotels as well as some amazing restaurants! All five of us look forward to this trip every year and it has become such a great tradition for our family!

 

The resort is made up of individual cottages, each unique in its design.  The attention to detail  is top notch and the guest services are wonderful! They have a large garden where they encourage the guests to cut their own flowers for decorating their cottage and tons of fresh herbs and veggies for the taking!

Every year we cook a meal in our cottage on the night we arrive. We request to have a gas grill placed outside the cottage and we stop at the local market to pick up some supplies, but the rest we gather from the garden!

 

 

The main lodge has a quaint little porch, aptly named The Back Porch, where Chuck and I usually grab a cocktail while the kids roast marshmallows for s’mores by the bonfire out back.  They keep baskets of s’mores fixings on hand every night. This year our oldest, Sam, was able to join in on the cocktails!

 

2009

 

2015
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2009

Goose Rocks Beach is about a mile down the road. The resort provides a shuttle service but we usually ride bikes down. There is a bike shop where you can borrow bikes to ride during your stay. Goose Rocks is a beautiful beach, and guests of the resort are able to enjoy service from the wonderful staff at their beachside sister resort The Tides Beach Club.

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The Tides Beach Club provides great beach service such as chairs, tables, umbrellas and food delivery.  After a day at the beach, Chuck and the girls like to sneak in a game of backgammon in the bright, beautifully finished lobby. They are constantly looking up the rules of the game as you can see below!

2018

We always have dinner one night at the Tides, where I get my favorite lobster meal of the year!

Hidden Pond has an award winning restaurant on site called Earth at Hidden Pond.  Chuck and I usually steal away for a date night there and the kids love to stay at the cottage and watch “Shark Week”  and get take out delivered from Earth!  It is a beautiful restaurant and a delicious experience every time!

Hidden Pond is approximately five miles from Kennebunkport, the most idyllic New England town, which is full of quaint little shops and restaurants.  Every year I have to visit Antiques on Nine, a beautiful shop with a mix of old and new that offers design services as well. I get so inspired strolling through their tasteful displays!

This year we discovered a new shop that we fell in love with as soon as we pulled up out front! Farm+Table is an amazing little gift shop full of the coolest stuff. Can’t wait to go back!

This bottle opener is just a small example of how cool their stuff is!!!
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Hidden Pond holds a special place in our hearts. We have made so many wonderful memories there and I can only hope we are able to continue this tradition in the future!!

2016

Sedona, Arizona

I was lucky enough to be able to join my husband on a business trip this summer to Sedona, Arizona!  Now, I have to be honest, when he asked me if I wanted to go to ARIZONA IN JULY, I was a little less than enthusiastic!  First of all, Arizona was never on any to do list of mine.  There are a lot of places I’d like to travel in my lifetime but I can honestly say that was not one of them, not even close!

Second of all, we would have to leave the kids home as they all had summer jobs.  After a little hemming and hawing, this stay-at-home mom decided “Why the heck not?”  Two of our three kids drive, they’re responsible and can take care of the house and the dog and each other.  So off we went!

There’s something to be said for traveling as a couple when you’re used to traveling as a family of five.  Even though our kids are older and quite responsible and independent, the mama bear is always on duty when traveling with the fam! When it’s just the two of us all I worry about is where the closest Starbucks is and what page I’m on in my book.  Oh yeah…and properly sanitizing my area on a plane! The older I get the more of a germaphobe I become!

When you have a layover and it’s just the two of you, you don’t have to worry about finding five different food places to please five different palates, or watching everyone’s luggage while they go off exploring. You just sit and have an ice cold beer and watch the people around you struggling and stressing on their family vacations!  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been on tons of vacations with our family, and whether fun, crazy or stressful, I wouldn’t change anything about those memories!

We landed in Phoenix so we had quite a drive to Sedona.  For the most part the drive was unremarkable, fairly desolate parts mixed in with some stretches of lush greenery that looked like we could be at home in upstate NewYork. Then, before you know it, it would turn to all scrub bushes and cacti.

When you get close to Sedona you certainly know it!  All of a sudden we were surrounded by the most beautiful scenery! It is truly breathtaking and quite honestly so amazing that it looks fake!  The entire time we were there I kept thinking that any minute we were going to hear someone yell ”CUT” and the mountains were going to roll away like on a movie set!  I was so nervous driving up to the resort because our heads were on such a swivel looking at our surroundings.

Driving through the gates of the resort was magical. We stayed at the incredible Enchantment Resort (@enchantmentresort.com). The grounds were spectacular and the foliage is so drastically different from home.  I would soon learn how special THIS guy (below) really is!

In my research before our trip I read  that the signature drink was the Prickly Pear margarita.  As soon as we checked into our room we walked around the resort and went into the main lodge to try one out! So delicious and pretty at the same time!

Isn’t this ottoman in our villa so cute?

The first night we had reservations at the Sedona Steakhouse 89 to host some of my husbands clients and colleagues. They sat us in the private wine room which was beautiful!  Our guests introduced us to some fabulous new wines, our dinner was delicious and a great time was had by all!  The chef spent some time with us and offered a tour of the amazing kitchen. The restaurant picked us up at the resort by shuttle and brought us back at the end of the night.

 

 

We tried to see as much of Sedona as we could in between meetings and dinners. We were told the Vista hike was a nice, shorter hike (less than an hour) that we could get to right from the grounds of the resort. It was a great hike to squeeze into a small amount of free time!

One rainy day we snuck into town to try out a restaurant I had heard about. Holy cow!  Craft margaritas and some of the best appetizers I’ve ever had! I highly recommend stopping in!!!(@saltrockkitchen)

That afternoon we also wanted to check out the Chapel of the Holy Cross. My parents had visited it previously and told us it was a must-see!  We were so glad we went, what an amazing place!

The next day my hubby had meetings most of the day so I spent my free time reading by the  pool. It was a beautiful day with crazy views! I must admit I don’t sit still much but this was glorious!

Our last day we knew we wanted to get in two more hikes that were highly recommended.  It was sunny and HOT so off we went early with our water bottles and extreme fear of encountering snakes! It was a longer hike with all types of terrain, not too difficult until the top. I was determined to get my picture taken on Devil’s Bridge and my darling husband was all too happy to be my photographer as there was no way his vertigo was getting him out there with me!  We were awestruck with the beauty of it all, and, admittedly, I was slightly terrified!

 

 

Last on the list was Cathedral Rock.  We drove there after conquering Devil’s Bridge.  The entrance was actually in a state park, where we had to pay to park in a picnic area where tons of families were surrounding a large swimming hole and picnicking on the lawns.

We made it into the wooded area about a hundred yards beyond where I took the above picture when my husband jumped and pushed me aside, and possibly expressed a few choice words. That was when a very large rattlesnake slithered by his feet!

Needless to say, we abandoned that hike and we were back at the pool with our books and cocktails faster than you can say “Prickly Pear Bellinis!” We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and reading before our last dinner at the Enchantment Golf Course.

I’d love to know if any of you have been Sedona? Did you enjoy it? We had such an amazing time and I highly recommend the trip!  I know you’ll love it!

Next up on the blog…Ten years at Hidden Pond, Kennebunkport, Maine!

Date Night on the Boat

We are fortunate to live in an unbelievably beautiful area in upstate New York at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. One of our favorite summer activities is spending time on our boat on Lake George, thirty-two miles of breathtaking views and natural beauty. I have spent the majority of my life boating on the lake and every single time I am awestruck by its beauty.

With that being said, unfortunately, we don’t get on the boat nearly as much as we’d like to! Summer is BUSY and now that our kids are grown they all work. We only made it on the boat a handful of times this summer, but one of my favorites was DATE NIGHT! The best part was that it was kind of a last-minute decision, not a ton of planning and the weather was glorious!

Once we determined that it was a night that none of our kids would be home, I ran to the store to grab something for our dinner. I decided I’d get some things to assemble a charcuterie board that would be easy to eat while cruising along the lake.

 

We had the best time! We cruised nice and slow, played some of our favorite tunes and just enjoyed the amazing surroundings. It’s definitely one of my favorite memories from this summer!

Next up on the blog…Sedona, Arizona!

Summer Adventures 2018

We were fortunate enough to be able to do some traveling this summer. In my next few posts I’d love to share our adventures! 

Twenty Third Anniversary Get-Away

For many years we never really made a big deal about our anniversary. Let’s face it, we’ve got three kids and life is C-R-A-Z-Y!  We would usually try go out to dinner or something, but, like Valentine’s Day, it always snuck up on us. 

First of all, we got married over Memorial Day weekend.  It seemed like a great idea at the time, as we were living in Seattle and getting married at home in upstate New York. We thought a holiday weekend was ideal for travel, etc.  As time moved on and our kids got older and busier, Memorial Day weekend became not only the unofficial start of summer but a crazy, event filled, hectic weekend! Our town has a huge parade in which all of our kids have participated in some way or another, be it little league teams, brownies or marching in their school band. Then, when our son got to high school, his lacrosse team always had a big sectional game on Memorial Day Weekend, which we certainly didn’t want to miss!

About five or six years ago we started throwing around the idea of trying to get away for a night or two.  We quickly realized that, with the hectic weekend activities, one night was going to be it, and 1.5-2 hours away was going to be the max! We are so fortunate that my parents and my sister and her family live in the same town. A one day get-away for the two of us can require scheduling for numerous rides here and there for the kids, care for the dog, multiple meals, laundry, homework help, etc.  As many of you know, sometimes the prep to get away doesn’t seem to justify the trip itself!

The first couple of years we went to the Woodstock Inn in Vermont, one of our faves! (@woodstockinn.com) Just under a two-hour drive, it never disappoints!  Winter, spring, summer or fall, it is just beautiful! Great dining at the Inn and in the super quaint town, good hiking and shopping, amazing spa, too!

Another favorite we’ve visited is the Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid, NY. (@mirrorlakeinn.com) Lake Placid is an absolutely beautiful location, home to the 1980 Winter Olympics. Again, all four seasons are breathtaking there, and the Inn is wonderful! About an hour and a half drive for us!

A couple of years ago our daughter decided to go to college in Rhode Island. This was an area of New England that both Chuck and I had never gotten to know very well.  I had always heard of Newport and everything I’d seen made it look like the quintessential New England town.  So, not long after she committed to her school we booked our anniversary trip for Newport.  OH MY GOD…let’s just say that I would move there IN A SECOND if I could! I loved everything about it! On a recommendation from my good friend we booked the Attwater Hotel, a member of Lark  Hotels. (@larkhotels.com) It is a small boutique hotel located within walking distance of pretty much all of downtown Newport. I highly recommend a stay there!

This year, since we loved Rhode Island so much, we decided to try another boutique hotel in Narragansett, RI.  The Break used to be a member of Lark Hotels but has now branched out on its own. It has all the charm and beautiful decor of Lark Hotels!

We loved The Break, and Narragansett had some great restaurants and numerous, beautiful beaches. Especially Scarborough Beach where we collected a ton of amazing sea glass! The pool area was gorgeous, we went on a beautiful morning run and visited Point Judith Lighthouse, and the roof top deck was delightful for afternoon, ahem, evening cocktails!

 

Although Narragansett is really beautiful, it is definitely a laid back beach town. There are many options for “beaching it” which I do truly love to do on most occasions.  Chuck doesn’t love the beach as he is not keen on “sitting still” for long periods of time.  We do both love to sit and read when given the opportunity, but on our anniversary trip we like to hop around and explore. On our second day,(yes, with our oldest two home from college and able to hold down the fort we are able to get away for TWO nights now!), we decided to head back to Newport for the day. We had fallen so in love with it the previous year! 

I, of course, had to get my shopping/window browsing in on Thames St. Delightful little shops everywhere!  Then off to Bellevue Ave. to browse the beautiful stores there.  After Chuck had spent too many hours waiting for me at that point, patient as ever, we knew it was time to head to our favorite burger joint that we had discovered the year before.

Quite honestly, I work out regularly and eat well 80% of the time, but I would do anything for a good burger and fries.  It’s not always an easy thing to find!  Well…shut the front door! Mission Burger on Marlborough Street in Newport has changed my life! Not only are their burgers and fries TO DIE FOR but they also serve great beers!!!(@missionnpt.com). You order at the counter and get your drinks. They give you a dinosaur figurine with a celebrity name to place on your table in order to find you for delivery. It’s got an industrial, rustic decor and we just love it! If you love burgers and find yourself in Newport you MUST go!

Next up was driving through the Newport mansion area.  Years ago we visited another part of Rhode Island while our son attended a lacrosse camp.It was approximately 97-100 degrees with 95% humidity , and while we tried to make a little vacay of it with our girls, we were wet noodles dealing with the heat. We did the walking mansion tour while sweating out more than we could drink in water. The girls were miserable and all I remember was being so emotional thinking about my son in full goalie equipment all day at camp!

On our anniversary trip we got smart and just drove by all the mansions!  Much better! We drove all along the coast until we found Castle Hill Inn.  Beautiful!!!  We loved it so much we had drinks and went back the next night for dinner.  This year we made a beeline for it after my day of shopping and stayed forever!  It’s breathtaking! The views, the service, the cocktails, the food…I’m honestly counting the minutes until we can go back!

 

Our dinner at the outside bar was so good we’re still talking about it.  In fact, we enjoyed it so much that we re-created it this summer at home for our family! We finished our visit to Castle Hill Inn off with a delicious creme brûlée then headed back to The Break.

Back at our hotel we spent a bit of time in the upstairs bar for coffee. It was so cute in there!  Then we went back to our adorable room for some champagne that we stocked in our mini fridge to Netflix and chill!  It was such a fabulous get away!

(Stocked up on some of our New England faves to bring home!)

Next on the blog…Date night on the boat!

Running Playlist

I decided during one of my daily runs this fall, at 78 degrees, 70% humidity, that I really need to update my running playlist. When I finished and started to scroll through my phone I realized my  playlist was entitled “Jen Chicago Marathon Training 2012.”  Well… 2012 was quite a few years ago! As I was struggling  through my third of four hilly stretches and feeling inspired and somewhat old listening to Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb,” I thought about how long it had been since “Hanna Montana” was a constant in our house. I find myself pushing the SKIP button a lot which, honestly, at 48, takes a lot out of a gal! I need to scale down and delete all of those songs that no longer inspire me. Before I change things up I thought I’d share my top ten songs that have kept me going since 2012, whether it be three miles, ten miles, or further.  Although, with this summer and early fall’s heat indexes, lately 3-6 miles is my limit!!  I haven’t run a race since September 2017.  I usually try to train for at least one a year, if possible.  I guess it’s time to look into my next one!
1st of 2 Chicago Marathons 2011 (Chicago is the FLATTEST and most fun marathon! The city really puts on the party and it’s awesome!!! Highly recommend!)
Vermont City Marathon 2015 (Third and final marathon.) Hot and hilly, this puppy KILLED me!!! Thank goodness for my sister who got me through it! Fun fact: my husband finished, walked back to our hotel and showered and had walked back to the finish to greet us by the time we got there!!!  Yeah, he’s that fast!
 
  1. I’m a Believer     Smash Mouth
  2. Gonna Fly Now  Theme from “Rocky”    Bill Conti
  3. The Edge of Glory     Lady Gaga
  4. Come to Me     The Goo Goo Dolls
  5. The Sound of Sunshine      Michael Franti and Spearhead
  6. I Will Wait     Mumford and Sons
  7. Save Me, San Francisco    Train
  8. Riptide     Vance Joy
  9. Mister DJ     Rihanna
  10. Sweet Child O’ Mine     Guns N’ Roses
Adirondack Ragnar Relay 2016 Team shirts (We were all Moms mostly from the same neighborhood!)
  Ragnar Ready!
Ragnar Finish in Lake Placid New York!
 
Saratoga Palio Half Marathon 2017 Saratoga Springs, New York
  I’d love to hear what favorites you all have on your playlists that inspire you to go further and faster! I need to look into registering for a race to get me motivated and I’d love to know what songs  work for you!  Scroll down and leave me a message!!  Happy Running friends!          

Back To School Window Displays

My latest project, a rather big one, has been designing and making back to school displays for the windows in my husband’s office building. We own a beautiful old building in our quaint downtown where his business is located. For the past number of years I have been decorating the windows with seasonal displays. In the beginning I tried holiday displays but found that to be a bit too much to keep up with.  So now I do Back to School, Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. I tend to give the displays a somewhat vintage vibe as in keeping with the era of the building.

At the end of August, about a week before school started, I installed my latest display and it is definitely the one I’ve worked the hardest on.  For a number of years I have seen these large versions of school supplies in catalogs, but they are around  $70 a piece and I have two windows to fill!  So this year I decided to go for it and make some myself.

I gathered my ideas and Pinterest boards and headed out to various places in search of  advice and materials. After a stop at my favorite local gift shop that collects and repurposes just about everything you could think of and then two plus hours at Lowe’s, I was ready to get started!!! At the gift shop I found an old wooden railing in their scrap wood pile ( I have made so many projects out of that scrap pile!) that they only charged me $3 for and cut it in half for me!!! They’re always so nice! I left there inspired with the base pieces for my large pencils!!!

Next stop, Lowe’s!  I have spent many hours in Lowe’s in the past, whether it be for home decor, building projects for after prom parties, gardening supplies, etc. They have always been so accommodating and I swear they get just as excited to help out with my crafting projects as they do helping contractors!  From lumber to PVC to paint, I think at one point I had about seven different people helping me out! The young man in the paint department went in search of a pencil so I could accurately match the colors to paint my large pencils and erasers! A few of them asked where the displays were going to be  so they could go see them when complete!!

Here’s what I did:

I bought a 2x10x10 board and had the guys at Lowe’s cut in half. They do one complimentary cut for you in store. These would be my two rulers. Then I made the ruler lines on the boards marking with pencil. I used a yardstick to figure out where to put the lines. I can’t remember how I decided how far apart to put them, it was a lot of multiplication and division in my head!!!  I then went over the lines with sharpie marker. Then I used some stencils to put the numbers on, also with a sharpie.

Then I lightly sanded the two halves of railing with my mouse sander and painted them yellow. It took me forever to decide how to make the erasers but I decided to use small paint rollers and painted them pink.

 

Next I cut the two pieces of PVC down to a good length with my jigsaw and sanded them all over so paint would adhere better. I had a leftover can of red spray paint from a past project so I painted them with that.

I made a Back to School sign looking like scrabble pieces out of a roll of brown craft paper  and then supported the back with pieces of poster board. I then used my hot glue gun to attach the paint rollers to the ends of the pencils. I cut a couple of pieces of Cricut silver vinyl and wrapped that around the middle then put two metal connectors around that to look like the metal pieces joining a pencil and it’s eraser.

I hemmed and hawed for days about how to get the pencil points made. Short of spending hours upon hours whittling them, I was at a loss. Then my dad came up with the idea of using craft paper and rolling it into a cone. So I did that and it turned out great! I just taped them and used a sharpie to color the ends.


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To make the paint brushes I just stuck the little hand brooms into ends of the PVC (I hot glued around the handles first). Then I wrapped aluminum foil around and taped it closed.  I brushed some paint on the ends of the bristles to look like used paint brushes.

 I threw a quick coat of weathered oak stain on the rulers and voila! Both windows together cost me just less than $100.  In the end I decided to have the Back to School sign laminated so I could reuse it.  I googled “vintage looking flashcards” and printed them off my computer. My parents own the desk from their elementary school and all other props I had on hand.  I’m so happy with how the windows turned out and knowing I made most of it myself just feels good!!  These will definitely be my “go to” back to school windows for years to come!

Back to School 2018

I would definitely say that, for most of my life, fall has been my favorite season. My birthday is in early August so as a kid every year I would ask for new sweaters and such, and from that day forward I was ready for cool, crisp weather to bundle up in my new duds! As an adult, it seems as if each year I am more and more reluctant to give up summer. I have never been one of those moms that looks forward to their kids going back to school, I love having them home with me. Especially now that I have two in college, I really cherish the summer months with everyone under my roof!

Our oldest, Sam, drove himself back to college in mid August for the start of his senior year. I find it so hard to believe because I’m still crying over his first day of preschool!  It is really true what they say…don’t blink!  When they were little it felt like the days and sleepless nights were endless, but before you know it they’re grown and gone.

Our oldest daughter, Ellie, went back for her sophomore year of college at the end of August.  As usual, on move in day it was 80 plus degrees with extreme humidity. At least this year she is on a lower floor! Last year she was on the eighth floor and I had trouble getting out of bed for days afterward because my calves were killing me!!! Her dorm room is just slightly larger than a shoe box, so it is always interesting to try and make something that small feel homey and cute all the while sweating profusely and fighting my claustrophobia that seems to be worsening as I age!!!

Our youngest, Gracie, is a junior in high school. I don’t think she is as sad as I am to have the house emptied out! She and our golden retriever, Teddy, are our only kids left at home. Here they are posing for the annual back-to-school pic!

 

(I would prefer to remember them this way! That is our first golden, Jake.  Faithful picture poser for many years before Teddy!)

I have been very fortunate to be able to be a stay-at-home Mom all these years, and I wouldn’t change that for the world! I take being a Mom VERY seriously and have devoted everything to this role for almost 22 years! My family and my home are the most important things in the world to me and I take great pride in both!!!  I do crave being busy and on the move; I’m always working on some project or another, or helping someone out with a project of their own. I love crafting and creating whenever I can, whether it be sewing, embroidery, projects on my Cricut, or DIY-ing decorating projects around my home, trying out new recipes or entertaining. I run, do yoga or some form of exercise 5-7 days a week, that’s my sanity! Oh wait… wine helps too!!

We live in the town where we grew up, an incredibly quaint little town in upstate New York at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. We have four beautiful seasons. Well, if I’m being honest, as I age the winters seem to be getting a bit too long!!

I’d love to have you join me in figuring out this thing called “LIFE.” Hop on board and I’ll share my adventure with you!